GN transgender, non-binary health services a positive step: LGBTQ organization

More needs to be done to bridge gaps in information, says Positive Space president

Dayle Kubluitok (left) and Bibi Bilodeau pose with the trans pride flag in their office at the Nunavut Arctic College on Mar. 18. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

“Yay,” was Dayle Kubluitok’s initial reaction to news Nunavut’s Health Department will pay for transition services for transgender and non-binary Nunavummiut.

“It’s about time.”

Kubluitok, an Iqaluit resident who is non-binary and uses the pronoun they, said it’s been difficult to get access to these services in the territory.

“I had to be dramatic about it,” Kubluitok said, adding health-care professionals wouldn’t believe their problems.

“I had to bawl my eyes out, like, be at my breaking point for them to listen to me.”

Health Minister John Main announced Mar. 17 that the territorial government is partnering with the Metropolitan Centre of Surgery in Montreal to provide health care for transgender and non-binary Nunavummiut.

Some services include breast augmentation, chest contouring, hysterectomy, vaginoplasty and phalloplasty, as well as hormone therapy.

The Health Department says these services are for those who are eligible, but has not provided more information about what the criteria is.

Making this type of health care easily accessible might help break stigmas, and give young Nunavummiut better access to health care, Kubluitok said.

Bibi Bilodeau is the president of an LGBTQ group called Positive Space, which works with Nunavut youth.

Policies like this can help reduce suicide rates in the territory, as transgender and non-binary people are among the most likely to attempt suicide, she said.

However, Bilodeau said she worries that even if these policies exist, there will be a lot of gaps in implementation that need to be filled, such as informing people that these options are available to them.

One way of fixing that is for the government to train and support teachers in working with queer youth, and ensure that its employees know how and when to help people access these services, Bilodeau said.

The alternative is the responsibility falling on people like her and Kubluitok, who is also a member of Positive Space, to give medical and mental health support when they aren’t professionals in that field, but part of the queer community.

“The government hasn’t caught up with the work that we’re doing at a grassroots level,” Bilodeau said.

Bilodeau said as Positive Space grows, she wants to work with the government to help roll out policies like this to ensure those gaps are closed.

Another important aspect of sexual health that the government can work on is building support for the queer community at LGBTQ pride flag-raising events, for example, that match the support received for other causes, like Pink or Orange shirt day.

“[Educating people on how to support] LGBTQ people — it’s the easiest way to take a very vulnerable, at-risk part of the population and make us healthy,” Bilodeau said.

“We’re not an issue to be solved. All we’re literally asking for is we want to be integrated. We want to be supported.”

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(33) Comments:

  1. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    Congratulations! It is surely an overdue milestone!

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  2. Posted by DayleRocks on

    We are proud of you Dayle!

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    • Posted by Histrionics and Theater on

      Nice to see people enjoying the theatrics!

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  3. Posted by Think About It on

    “these services are for those who are eligible”, should be interesting to see how the GN determines whom is eligible and by what criteria. Gender dysphoria is a real thing and requires a professional diagnosis, with the lack of mental health care in Nunavut and the long long lines of persons with other mental health issues; when will these persons get seen and assessed? And should these issues take precedence over other mental health issues, or other medical issues like knee and hip transplants.
    Only so many cookies in the cookie jar, it is going to be interesting to see how the GN hands them out.

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  4. Posted by We Need A New Pronoun on

    We need a proper gender-neutral pronoun in English. They is far too unclear, and there is no agreement in its use in the singular form. Dictionaries even list ‘they’ as for the non-binary. Using it for those whose gender is unknown can been as a form of aggression and oppression, and as such needs to be resisted.

    Kubluitok can use it if wanted, but it is a hindrance to reading comprehension and reduces clarity, and the usage in writing is discouraged. MLA makes it very clear that there are few instances when writing can’t be reworded to avoid its usage.

    A clear, gender-neutral pronoun without the history and multiple meanings of ‘they’ is needed. Now, if only we had one. Any suggestions?

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    • Posted by Finally! on

      This! Finally! They in writing is one of the clunkiest structures ever, it brings reading to a halt. It’ history of being associated with the non-binary community makes it completely inappropriate as a gender-neutral pronoun – the historical associations are too strong, and there is too much confusion. How about ‘griffle’ as a pronoun?

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    • Posted by I have one! on

      It’s called “they”. It was first documented in writing in 1375 (meaning it’s been around for at least 700 or so years), has been in common usage for just as long. Grammarians started whining about it 400 years later. It’s been one of the crusades of the people who insist that English must be spoken a certain way, such as the idiots who claim “You can’t split the infinitive” and “you can’t end a sentence with a preposition” and other made-up rules that ignore how people actually speak the language.

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      • Posted by maybe so, but… on

        maybe so, but that is meaningless, age doesn’t make it any less difficult to read – it stops everything.

        as mentioned above, they has become strongly associated with the non-binary.

        You can’t have it be a term that is broadly used only for the non-binary and the unknown at the same time and not expect confusion.

        AS the Op said, a new word is best.

        Sent from my iPhone

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  5. Posted by Righteous Wrongthinker on

    I’ll bet Nunatsiaq doesn’t allow any comments that kindly suggest this might not be a good idea, and may cause more harm than good.

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    • Posted by Surprised even on

      Undoubtedly, in fact I am surprised they allowed yours up.

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    • Posted by SNOWL on

      Why would this be a bad idea? These health services that used to be difficult for Nunavummiut who needed them were extremely difficult to access. What is wrong with that changing?

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  6. Posted by concerned on

    I believe this is a very personal issue and should handled personally. Health care should be paying for like implants on teeth which is very essential and does meet the criteria of health issue. I would eat and crunch more food and be healthier if i did get implants. And never will since it’s costly. Damn, what’s next.

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  7. Posted by A fashionable proposal on

    I know these are less common, still these very EMPOWERING pronouns are familiar and known among the trans community
    ze, zir, zirs (pronounced zhee, zheer, zheer)
    xe, xem, xyr (pronounced: zhee, zhem, zheer)

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  8. Posted by Femme Fatale on

    There has been a very robust debate ongoing over the rise of what some are calling ‘trans-ideology’ for the past half decade. Much of this driven by feminists and can be read in their publications. To get a feel for the tone of it all here is an excerpt from what has become a classic piece, written by Kathleen Lowry in the ‘Feminist Current’ (2018).

    “The rapid and essentially unquestioned rise of trans ideology in academia is one example… As many radical feminists have eloquently pointed out, trans activists have appropriated the rhetoric of feminist struggle and much of the actual history of gay and lesbian liberation movements. Trans activists have done this despite the fact that trans ideology comprises elements that are misogynist and homophobic, conceptually and, far more worryingly, in application”

    https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/01/03/considering-rapid-rise-trans-ideology-academia-follow-money/

    I have no stake in the debate itself, but it is hard not to notice the viciousness of the backlash against feminists who have, very bravely, challenged the idea that trans-women (natal males) are biological women.

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    • Posted by Case in point on

      J.K Rowling is the best example I can think of regarding that backlash. I’ve never read anything she has said that has been untrue or what I would consider anti-trans, yet she has commented on this very thing. In the wake of that the invective and deep hatred she’s received has been a marvel to behold.

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      • Posted by Femme Fatale on

        To those who dislike my comment, do you deny that it represents reality, or do you just dislike that such an ugliness it has been brought up in this forum?

        Genuinely curious.

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      • Posted by SNOWL on

        You are transphobic if you don’t consider trans women to be women. TERF’s are transphobic.

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    • Posted by Gross Misrepresentation of History on

      First of all, someone being trans isn’t an “ideology”, it is a part of who someone is. Any biologist, anthropologist or neuroscientist can tell you that gender A) is a spectrum and complex and B) has biological underpinnings. Transwomen are women and it’s based in more than just “ideology”.

      Trans people are the REASON that we have LGBT rights in the world, they fought hard with gay, lesbian, bi and queer people for decades to help us achieve what we have so far. While only one example, Masha P. Johnson, the mother of the LGBT rights movement was trans and trans people have sacrificed and died for LGBT rights. Any LGBT person saying being trans is “homophobic” is a betrayal of the worst kind.

      Not only are transwomen women, and transmen men, but they’re people. They are not an ideology and they are not a boogeyman. They’re individuals trying to survive and trying to live authentically, despite bigots who try to denigrate, marginalize them and interfere in their lives.

      Given how much abuse trans people face, to the point of being murdered, denied services and harassed and bullying to the point of suicide, who would choose this life for “ideology” or for some sort of nefarious reason?

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      • Posted by History is calling on

        You maybe missed history but there are a few other movements you should catch up with for you to start sounding like you know what you are talking about.

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      • Posted by Femme Fatale on

        I appreciate your response, sincerely, and I agree with you being trans itself is not an ideology. We would probably also agree on the definition of gender being a very fluid term.

        However, I would suggest that ideas around what constitutes the meaning of a biological term like ‘woman,’ conversely, do comprise an ideology.

        When you say transwomen are women, I think what you really mean is that they are every bit as much a biological woman as any other woman? Is that accurate?

        If so, does that really map onto reality?

        For a great example of how this is currently playing out in the real world, and how many would argue it has hurt women, I would encourage readers to look up the controversy surrounding Lia Thomas. Lia is a trans athlete (born male) currently competing as a woman and dominating women’s college swimming. In fact, Lia just won an NCAA National swimming title only 6 days ago.

        It seems difficult to ignore that possibility that Lia has a significant advantage given her male body. That is what former Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner thinks.

        Is Jenner right, or would say Lia is just a woman, like any other? It seems very difficult to disentangle a statement like that from an ‘ideology’ to me.

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        • Posted by SNOWL on

          Who are you to decide what is “reality” when leading experts in neuroscience, anthropology, biology, and more are telling you otherwise? What does college swimming in the US have to do with Nunavummiut receiving healthcare?

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          • Posted by No Moniker on

            It would be great if you could name some of these experts. I’d like to take a look at some of their work.

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      • Posted by Cat on

        As a parent of a trans kid, we accept them for everything they are, and love them. The only problems most people have is with how everyone makes such a big deal about labels and pronouns. It’s everywhere, the outrage, the activitsts, and who are they really fighting? Most of society accepts them, until you don’t use the correct label that someone identifies as, and then you get labelled a biggot, sexist and the such. We accept you, and stand with you. Please stop labelling us all as bigots as you aren’t doing yourself any favours by constantly name calling and attacked everyone. The pronouns literally change daily if you are gender fluid, sometimes hourly, you have to accept that it is impossible for everyone to be able to read your mind to figure out if today you are ze, or she or they… get off the pedestal long enough to have a real conversation with people rather then making tik toks about how outraged you are today at cis people

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    • Posted by Hellen Killabuk on

      We can not even get decent regular medical care in Nunavut! We do have to consider when a white man dressed as a woman is making magazine articles in Nunavut where our priorities are (https://uphere.ca/articles/dressed-success). The person is not even considering the amount of space and privilege they are using or how offensive that name is and the insulting aggressive way women are portrayed as sex objects of a certain class.

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      • Posted by Laura on

        That fetish induced representation of women is hurtful to me as a woman

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      • Posted by SNOWL on

        I agree that there needs to be a bigger conversation in the drag community about how to better celebrate femininity and alienate women.

        However, I have never seen Nuka act in a way that is derogatory toward women. They are non-binary, not a man. And they are not white. Maybe you should read the article that you linked.

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        • Posted by SNOWL on

          sorry for the typo! I of course meant *not to alienate women*.

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      • Posted by Ze on

        Cool, we accept you as you are. Now can y’all get together and agree on what you want to be called? There are currently 70+ accepted pronouns and everly expanding.

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  9. Posted by Moneymoneymoney on

    When I was a young fiery bull dyke we were proud to sit outside society and be visibly ourselves taking up space but it seems the trans crowd want to fit into a box of societal approval. It would be nice to see more people just embracing who they are without consuming so much. The consumer world seems to be controlling the current situation.

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    • Posted by SNOWL on

      I am glad to hear that you were and are at ease with your gender identity and where you fit in society. These health services help trans and nb folks are are struggling with gender dysphoria to reach a place where they can also be comfortable.

      This is an advancement and just because you did not know about the need for it in the past does not mean that people only want gender affirming services for consumerist reasons.

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  10. Posted by Skinny girl on

    I am a skinny girl stuck in the body of a fat girl. It would be nice if the GN would pay for a Brazilian butt lift

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  11. Posted by Hmm on

    And yet no coverage for fertility services in Nunavut. You have to pay out of pocket for surrogacy, IVF services. People argue that adoption is a better choice, which sure it is great, I am all for it. Some families want to at least have to option to have a child, or try to.

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    • Posted by IVF on

      There is absolutely zero support in Nunavut for fertility services, even though this is a problem that affects about 1 in 6 women. The societal stigma of not being able to conceive can weigh heavily on women and their relationships, and often they need real mental health support to get through this. Once flights, hotels and treatment are added up, a patient is looking at about $50,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. Hopefully this will be the next trend in the medical world, which will help shed some light on the GN’s willingness to help those who suffer from reproductive issues.

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